Marlow’s Pumpkin Patch
Spotlight On Business
This week’s Spotlight on Business is brought to you by Grace Payne of the Mt. Vernon Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In 1998, Timothy and Tracy Marlow set out 30 pumpkins on hay bales at the end of their driveway next to a Pringles can to collect the money. The second year, they grew 300 pumpkins and customers placed their payment in the mailbox. Since then, Marlow’s Pumpkin Patch has exponentially grown and added several new aspects to their farm. The business was started to teach their daughters, Erica and Emily, about money handling. Marlow’s Pumpkin Patch is 100% run by the Marlow family — their daughters, parents, and relatives. Today, they see between 10,000 and 15,000 people at the patch each season. Starting small, Marlow’s has added many new activities over the years including an adult and toddler’s corn maze, hayride, a haunted barn, playground, toddler play area, animals, mini golf, and a silo slide.
In their 10 month “off season,” the Marlows still work hard to clean up the patch, paint new hayride characters, and brainstorm new activities to add for the next year. Pumpkins are planted in June for the next season. Not surprisingly, the classic jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is the most purchased item at Marlow’s. Many pumpkins are bought for business decorations and weddings. Besides your favorite pumpkin variety, you can also find gourds, squash, straw, mums, and corn stalks available for purchase.
For Timothy, the most rewarding part of owning Marlow’s is seeing his kids grow up on the farm and take part by helping out with the business and seeing other families have fun. “We try to keep it very family oriented out here. I want a family to come out and have a good time, but I want them to buy a pumpkin, take it back and do an activity with their kids,” he remarks. For Emily, seeing children make connections with agriculture by observing animals and learning how produce grows is a rewarding experience for her. Overall, the most difficult aspect of owning a pumpkin patch is having to constantly depend on the weather. Disease, insects, and weather all play a part in how the pumpkin crop turns out each season.
Marlow’s Pumpkin Patch is located at 14003 N. Harmony Ln. in Opdyke IL 62872. This seasonal business is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday during the fall pumpkin season which runs from September 21 to October 31. For more information call them at 618-244-7129.